With unemployment for African-Americans at a staggering high of over 16 percent-and the real number may actually be double that when you figure in those who have stopped looking-we can no longer afford to sit idly by and wait for change to come.

President Barack Obama has come up with a plan that would help alleviate unemployment within our communities, but all the right wants to do is stop anything that may make the economy work. If there is any positive growth, their ability to beat the president in 2012 becomes all the more difficult.

His plan calls for the expansion of unemployment insurance, tax cuts for small businesses, payroll tax cuts, funding for a new program to help thousands get the training needed for jobs in growth industries and the addition of jobs through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to help unemployed youth.

This plan is not really a choice for us-it is a necessity for our community. It is a lifeline that can mean the difference between a do-nothing generation and a generation of citizens who are employed, engaged and empowered.

But on Tuesday night, Senate Republicans killed the bill. In essence, they are trying to kill the American dream. Not one Republican voted for the bill, even though individual senators had supported parts of it in the past.

Yes, the president says he will continue to fight for jobs and get through meaningful legislation. Economists say the American Jobs Act would grow the economy and add almost 2 million much-needed jobs. But while Democrats are trying to make inroads, getting the message out and pushing something through, Republicans continue to put up roadblocks, putting their 2012 presidential hopes before the well-being of Americans now.

So now, instead of having a comprehensive bill that would include the president’s entire plan, we will have to watch Congress go through each part of the bill and see if they can pass certain pieces.

We as African-Americans need these measures to pass, because we can’t wait another year, another season or another election. The measures the president has put forth make sense. This is no “9-9-9” hokum tax plan going on here-we have a leader who is showing us the way out of the economic turmoil we find ourselves in. It is time we follow him.